Warner Bros. Joins Rush to Fund Mysterious Mixed-Reality Start-up Magic Leap

Magic Leap raises giant $793.5 million in round led by Alibaba

Time Warner studio Warner Bros. joined a the rush of tech giants, Chinese power players and big-time banks funding a big $793.5 million round in secretive tech start-up Magic Leap.

The company is developing what’s known as “augmented reality” technology that makes the viewers feel like digital images are interacting with the world around them.

The giant round adds to mounting hype for augmented as well as virtual reality, which is an immersive format that makes a viewer feel transported to a different place. A slew of VR headsets are set to be commercially available this year, giving the new medium its first big shot at the mainstream. But AR and VR face an uphill climb getting widespread traction, asking consumers to pay for headsets that deliver something most have never tried before.

Tuesday, Magic Leap said it raised $793.5 million in new funding, led by Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group. Search giant Google and chip maker Qualcomm returned as repeat investors in the latest round.

Warner Bros. was among new investors, which also included several big financial institutions like Fidelity Management and Research, J.P. Morgan Investment Management and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, among others.

Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap’s CEO and founder, said the company would accelerate thanks to the new investment. “We are excited to welcome Alibaba as a strategic partner to help introduce Magic Leap’s breakthrough products to the over 400 million people on Alibaba’s platforms,” he said.